"Senator Padavan has worked with Queensborough Community College for many years now," QCC President Dr. Eduardo Marti told a group of 30 people at an intimate rooftop reception overlooking the campus on June 30. "Over the years, he's been a consistent supporter of the Holocaust center and the college."
"Without Padavan's support, this Holocaust Center would not exist," he added.
The center, which opened in 1983, also serves as the international office of the Association of Holocaust Organizations and is billed as the only American Holocaust center that publishes guides for middle schools and high schools. Padavan's office said he has lobbied for state funding to help the center meet its goal of educational outreach in the past two decades, contributing $195,000 since 2000.
"We are a place that is not only a repository and archive of Holocaust materials, but we are now extending the center to the educational community of Queens," Marti said.
"It's an educational resource," Padavan said. "State law requires that the Holocaust be taught in every school in New York. (The center) is teaching the educators."
Padavan noted that the center was unique among the state and city university systems and its location was one of its prime attractions.
"People shouldn't have to drive all the way to Battery Park (and the Holocaust Museum in Manhattan) to learn about the Holocaust," Padavan said.
"None of us are doing this on our own," he said, noting that he had invited state Assemblyman Mark Weprin (D-Bayside) to the reception as a kind of outreach of his own.
Officials said major education programs at the center are afoot, now that Dr. Arthur Flug has been installed as the education outreach coordinator at the center. The school hopes to raise the money to move the center from its current location in the basement of the library to a larger and more prominent facility.
"I think that many, many, many more things will happen at the center," Marti said. "I can only tell you we are on our way because someone is keeping it alive to help us blossom and grow."
During the reception, Padavan was led down to the side of the administration building, where he was presented with a surprise. School officials had cordoned off a small grassy section now adorned with a wooden bench, a young tree and a large boulder with a plate dedicating the area to Padavan.
"Relax or meditate. It's yours," the center's board Chairwoman Anne Morse told Padavan.
"This is so significant to me," Padavan said. "We've collected a lot of plaques over the years and have to find space on the wall for them. This one, I won't have to find any space on the wall."
Reach reporter Sophia Chang by e-mail at news@times
©2004 Community News Group
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